Preservation League of New York State Continues Listing Most Endangered Places for 2008  

ALBANY, January 30, 2008 – The Preservation League of New York State has named the former Glenwood Power Station in Yonkers, Westchester County, to the nonprofit group’s annual list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save.

The Yonkers Power Station, begun as part of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad in 1904, stands as a monument to early 20th-century engineering and the New York Central Railroad electrification that led to the suburban growth of Westchester County.  The architects for the Yonkers Power Station were Charles Reed and Allen Stem, who, along with Warren and Wetmore, also designed Grand Central Terminal.

“Even this impressive pedigree did not prevent another Reed and Stem Power Station –  Port Morris on the Harlem River Rail line – from being demolished in the mid-20th century,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State.  “The Preservation League is joining with local and regional advocates to call for the formal protection of this complex, and for re-use plans that respect the building’s industrial character and architectural and engineering integrity.”  

According to Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape, a book co-authored by Tom Rinaldi and Rob Yasinsac:

When completed, the Yonkers Power Station stood as a triumphant expression of the architecture and engineering of its day … built of red brick, with rows of monumental arched windows, red terracotta trim and corbelled cornices. [The plant closed in 1963,] dwarfed by newer and more efficient power plants in New York and farther up the Hudson.  Now, more than forty years after it closed, the Yonkers Power Station remains abandoned, a hulking industrial ruin facing out across the river toward the cliffs of the palisades.

“After decades of abandonment, it has become arguably the most noteworthy and dramatic ruin, industrial or other, on the Hudson River,” said Yasinsac. “The historian Roger Panetta used the power station in Bill Moyer’s 2003 PBS special on the river to illustrate not only the decline of industry on the Hudson, but more importantly to show an example of the kind of landmark now threatened by decay and by growing pressure to redevelop the river’s long neglected shoreline.”

The City of Yonkers Landmarks Preservation Board unanimously recommended this building for local designation in 2005 but the Yonkers City Council has not acted on the proposed landmark designation. The building’s owner is actively marketing the site for redevelopment while the building remains unprotected.

“As metropolitan waterfronts are redeveloped, we are losing the magnificent power plants that made our modern transportation systems possible,” said   Mary Habstritt, Chair of the Preservation Committee of the Roebling Chapter, Society for Industrial Archeology.  “The Yonkers Power Station is one of the most architecturally beautiful of those left to us.  It is a worthy reminder of the New York Central Railroad, once called ‘The Greatest Highway in the World’ and the ‘Life Line of New York.’” 

The Preservation League and advocates are calling for local landmark designation to move forward, and pledges to work with stakeholders on reuse plans that respect the building’s industrial character and architectural and engineering integrity.

“Throughout the world, other historic power stations have been successfully adapted to house everything from museums, such as the Tate Modern in London and the Centrale Montemartini in Rome, to shopping centers, such as ‘The Powerplant’ in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor,” said Erin Tobin, the League’s Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs for eastern New York. “We must ensure that this and other historic industrial structures, so important to the Hudson Valley’s character and cultural identity, continue to play an important role in life along the river.”

Since 1999, publicity surrounding the Seven to Save designation has led to the stabilization of St. Joseph’s Church in Albany, the rehabilitation of the Oswego City Public Library, and prevented the demolition of the Conger Goodyear House on Long Island, along with successes at several other locations.

Two additional Seven to Save announcements will be made around the state in early 2008. The Prospect Hill-Columbus Park neighborhood in Buffalo, Erie County, Holy Trinity Monastery in Herkimer County, Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County, and the historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga County have already been designated.

The Preservation League of New York State, founded in 1974, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of New York’s diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings, districts and landscapes. From its headquarters in Albany, it provides a unified voice for historic preservation. By leading a statewide movement and sharing information and expertise, the Preservation League of New York State promotes historic preservation as a tool to revitalize the Empire State’s neighborhoods and communities.

Media Coverage
"Yonkers' Glenwood Power Station put on "Most Endangered Places" list," byErnie Garcia, The Journal News. January 30, 2008


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